Industrial park could bring 1,000 jobs to Cassopolis

NOW: Industrial park could bring 1,000 jobs to Cassopolis

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. -- Plans for an $18 million investment in Cassopolis that would turn nearly 400 acres of land into an industrial park were announced Wednesday.

Midwest Energy and Communications hopes to turn their remaining land into commercial property which they say will attract businesses, further investments and create 1,000 jobs in Cass County – a development being called the Southwest Michigan Advanced Research and Technology park. 

CEO Robert Hance said despite the project still being it the proposal stage, companies are already reaching out due to a supply-chain advantage this area provides.

“We’ve been able to secure a curb cut on M-60 from MDOT, CN Railroad has also agreed to break the rail on the north side of our property, so we will actually have a full functioning rail spur for this industrial land,” said Hance.

The main reason Midwest Energy’s Board of Directors has not voted to advance the project yet is because they’re hoping to get support through grants or government funding and now asking for help from Congressman Fred Upton, who’s running for re-election in Michigan’s sixth district in November, can secure funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

“I have found historically that the Economic Development Administration has one major criteria, its dollars per jobs that are created,” said Rep. Upton. “When you look at 1,000 jobs almost like that, this is going to get their attention.”

Democratic nominee and current State Representative Jon Hoadley also advocated for the plans success - saying in a statement to ABC57: "It's great to see job creation and investment in Southwest Michigan. This project promotes advanced research and technology and also raises the need to expand broadband access throughout our rural communities, helping our families and creating additional good-paying jobs."

And those 1,000 jobs have village officials excited about future developments in the county.

“I think it speaks volumes to the growth that we’re having in the village now and the growth that Midwest will continue to do,” said Emilie Saratore, Village of Cassopolis manager. “It’s a great opportunity for the village, the county, Southwest Michigan and the jobs they’re going to bring in.”

Hance also said since the company is a non-profit, the only money they’ll make if the park is ultimately a success is enough to pay back their investment.

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